- The New York Times hired and fired opinion writer Quinn Norton in the space of seven hours on Tuesday.
- Twitter users uncovered Norton’s friendship with neo-Nazi Andrew Auernheimer, as well as her use of homophobic and racist slurs in old tweets.
- Norton defended herself in sequence of tweets late on Tuesday, but did not apologise for her past remarks.
The New York Times announced on Tuesday that it would hire Quinn Norton, Wired Magazine’s former head of opinion writing on technology, to lead its own tech opinion section.
But within seven hours, the Times cut ties with her over a handful of old tweets wherein Norton talks about an infamous neo-Nazi as her friend and uses slurs against homosexual men and black people.
After the Times announced Norton’s hire and she responded to a wave of congratulations on Twitter, a newly curious public came across years-old tweets.
In a discussion about terrorists, a label which Norton called “meaningless,” she outright denied their existence and made the perplexing analogy that “at this point, as far as I’m concerned no one is a terrorist, in exactly the same way no human being is a nigger.”
In other heated exchanges, she repeatedly used the slur “fag” and “faggot.” And, her history revealed a friendship with infamous neo-Nazi Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker and internet troll known as “weev,” who writes for The Daily Stormer.
During the seven hours between the announcement of Norton’s hire and her dismissal, she claimed to be at a movie and unable to respond to a growing mountain of criticism on Twitter.
When she finally emerged, she announced she’d no longer have the job at the Times. An article on its website said the same.
NYT: This was new information to us
James Bennet, the editorial page editor of The Times, said in a statement: “Despite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us. Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways.”
It is unclear why the Times did not screen Norton. The media company is attempting to retool its opinion section following the 2016 US presidential election, which they admitted to mishandling.
In a series of tweets late on Tuesday, Norton defended herself and did not apologise.
She said she did not support weev, but thought “white folks should engage with the racists in their life” and “all people are redeemable, and ‘all people’ is all people.”
She chalked up her use of homophobic slurs to using the vernacular of the gay community, something which she has written about in the past.
The writer said: “As I said so many times to the @nytimes, no harm no foul. I’m sorry I can’t do the work I wanted to do with them. I wish there had been a way, but ultimately, they need to feel safe with how the net will react to their opinion writers.”
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